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Barefoot / Guest Blog

What is good running form?

In his second guest blog, ultra runner and personal trainer Piers Stockwell outlines what he believes makes good running form:

 

1. Our feet must land on the ground underneath our centre of mass to allow our suspension system of our ankles, knees and hips to work effectively. The feet will land on the fore foot first but then kiss the ground lightly with the heel.

2. We drive our leg backwards using our glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps muscles. Our stride power comes from underneath you to behind you not infront of you.

3. Our foot needs to be picked up off the floor without extending the ankle which forces us to get our stride from the powerful gluteal muscles and hamstrings.

4. We return our leg forwards while keeping the knee bent creating a shorter lever arm and moving our knee forward enough so that we can drive our foot back down underneath us. If the knee doesn’t come far enough forward it is difficult to drive   down underneath us and will result in extending your leg in front of you.

5. We must have good core strength to maintain a good posture. If we slump while running, it causes our pelvis to tilt resulting in putting our feet out in front of us again. By keeping a good posture, we will be able to drive our legs underneath us.

6. Arms are often forgotten about but play a key role in providing power to your legs through a cross of muscle from our shoulder to the opposite buttock. Arms must have approximately a 90 degree angle swinging forwards and slightly across us       but not crossing our centre line.

7. Our head should be pulled slightly back with our chin down to get our head centred on top of our body to maintain good posture. A 7kg head pushed forward will eventually pull the rest of your posture down with it.


 

19/08/2012
2

Posted by Frank Bayliss

Sounds a lot like what Vivobarefoot have been talking about for years…sincerest form of flattery and all that!

06/08/2013 | 13:26

Posted by andrew h

Some good pointers but i would take issue with the use of the word "drive" being used repeatedly to describe the way the hips and glutes work through the running/sprinting gaits - we do not drive the leg either back or forward - in very simple terms, when the hip is extended rearward, the stretch reflex mechanism will automatically "pull" it forward - As you say, to run faster, the arms lead the legs without much thought from us - If we relax the shoulders, neck, throat etc, things tend to happen pretty much by themselves, especially when utilising footwear that has as little as possible underfoot to let our feet "teach" us how to land. Obviously there are certain cues that can help but these vary from person to person - i often find that by just thinking about a "choppy stride", while remaining relaxed, has a very positive effect (sometimes it takes something else though). We should also not think about "driving" the foot down - that makes it sound like you are trying to make a hole in the ground underneath you and my final issue is talk of the core - one of the worse things anyone can do when running/walking etc is to "focus" on a "strong" core - this tends to have a negative effect on relaxation which, along with good posture and rhythm (somewhere in the 170 - 190 range makes sense for most folks) is one of the three most important things to "focus" on - And i say "focus" lightly as too much "focus" is often the problem here as much of the muscle/tendon activity during the running cycle/gait is passive and too much thought often interferes with what would happen perfectly well by it self if we didn't tense up due to thinking too hard about it. I know that coaches have to have methods/cues etc for helping but it seems as if many that are around at the moment are not that helpful at all. I hope this didn't come across as nit picky, i am just trying to stop the use of language such as drive and strike when it comes to "placing" the foot or foot "landing" and not have people focus on "driving" their feet into the ground. I would also recommend www.scienceofrunning.com (particularly the running form articles) to anyone looking to truly understand how the body works when running. And no, I'm not affiliated to the guy who writes it (and he's not got all the answers), he just understands the science better than most, actually coaches top level athletes and doesn't bs.

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